Background: Reliable data on HIV infection among Russian street youth are unavailable. The purpose of this study was to assess HIV seroprevalence among street youth in St Petersburg and to describe social, sexual, and behavioral characteristics associated with HIV infection.
Methods: A cross-sectional assessment conducted during January–May 2006 included city-wide mapping of 41 street youth locations, random selection of 22 sites, rapid HIV testing for all consenting 15–19-year-old male and female street youth at these sites, and an interviewer-administered survey. Adjusted odds ratios (AOR) were calculated using logistic regression, accounting for intracluster homogeneity.
Results: Of 313 participants, 117 (37.4%, 95% confidence interval 26.1–50.2%) were HIV infected. Subgroups with the highest seroprevalences included double orphans (64.3%), those with no place to live (68.1%), those previously diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI; 70.5%), those currently sharing needles (86.4%), and those currently using inhalants (60.5%) or injection drugs (78.6%), including Stadol (82.3%) or heroin (78.1%). Characteristics independently associated with HIV infection included injecting drugs (AOR 23.0), sharing needles (AOR 13.3), being a double or single orphan (AOR 3.3 and 1.8), having no place to live (AOR 2.4), and being diagnosed with a STI (AOR 2.1). Most HIV-infected street youth were sexually active (96.6%), had multiple partners (65.0%), and used condoms inconsistently (80.3%).
Discussion: Street youth aged 15–19 years in St Petersburg, Russia, have an extraordinarily high HIV seroprevalence. In street youth who are injection drug users, HIV seroprevalence is the highest ever reported for eastern Europe and is among the highest in the world.
From the aCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
bDoctors of the World–USA, St Petersburg, Russia
cCity AIDS Center, St Petersburg, Russia
dDoctors of the World–USA, New York, New York, USA.
Received 24 April, 2007
Revised 9 August, 2007
Accepted 15 August, 2007
Correspondence and requests for reprints to Dmitry M. Kissin, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway NE, MS K-34, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA. Tel: +1 770 488 6408; fax: +1 770 488 6391; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org